Regular physical activity may help reduce inflammation and prevent gout flares while improving mood and overall health. People with gout should not exercise during flares to avoid worsening pain and speed up recovery.

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Flares occur when urate crystals build up in the joints and the surrounding tissues.

People with gout may experience joint pain, swelling, and tenderness. Regular physical activity may ease symptoms in some people with gout and potentially improve their overall physical and mental well-being

This article looks at the role of exercise in managing gout and offers tips on when to exercise, which types of activity are best, and how to stay safe when exercising with gout.

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According to a 2020 article, regular exercise can benefit people with gout.

The authors examined 30 gout patients, finding that those who exercised regularly experienced fewer gout flares each year. They also had lower pain perception and lower levels of C-reactive protein, which increases with inflammation.

There are also further ways that regular exercise may help people with gout.

Weight management

According to the Arthritis Foundation, having obesity or being overweight can increase the risk of gout.

They suggest that exercise and maintaining a moderate weight can lower uric acid levels and prevent flares in people with gout.

Improved joint function and mobility

Gout can cause inflammation and stiffness in the affected joints.

A 2020 article suggests that physical exercise can reduce inflammation in animal models and that this effect may also occur in humans with gout.

Reduced inflammation may improve joint function and overall mobility in people with the condition.

Heart health

According to a 2021 systematic review, people with gout have an increased risk of heart problems, including:

Engaging in moderate intensity aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling, or brisk walking can strengthen the heart and lower the risk of heart-related complications.

Uric acid excretion

Hyperuricemia, which refers to elevated uric acid levels in the blood, is a risk factor for gout.

Buildups of uric acid can lead to gout flares, in which monosodium urate crystals form in a person’s joints and the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation and pain.

Exercise can lower uric acid levels, helping prevent gout flares.

Overall well-being

Regular exercise has numerous benefits for overall health and well-being, including:

Managing stress and maintaining a positive mindset where possible can be particularly important for individuals with gout, as some may find that stress can trigger flares.

During a gout flare-up, doctors may recommend avoiding exercising or putting excessive stress on the affected joints. During this time, it is important that people rest and take steps to reduce inflammation.

People will need to give themselves enough time to recover from a gout flare-up before resuming exercise. This period can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the flare.

A doctor can give specific, tailored guidance on when it is safe to begin exercising again.

Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that low impact exercise may be best for people with arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following types of exercise:


Walking is a low impact exercise that most people can easily include in their daily routine. It requires no financial investment and can be done anywhere.

People may choose to start with shorter distances and gradually increase their walking time as their fitness level improves. Walking can help improve cardiovascular health, joint mobility, and overall fitness.

Swimming and water sports

Swimming, water walking, and other water aerobics are excellent choices for people with gout. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints while providing resistance for muscle strengthening.


Stationary cycling or outdoor biking can be a great exercise option for gout. Cycling is low impact and helps strengthen leg muscles without putting excessive stress on the joints.


Gentle yoga poses and stretching exercises can improve flexibility, balance, and strength. Yoga also promotes relaxation and stress reduction.

People with gout may be able to find yoga classes specifically tailored for individuals with arthritis or joint conditions.


A low impact form of exercise, pilates can help people who are overweight or have obesity lose excess weight, which can reduce the risk of gout.

It may be possible to find a Pilates instructor with experience helping people with arthritis.

Tai chi

Tai chi is a martial art form using slow, flowing movements. It may help improve flexibility, balance, and coordination while reducing stress.

It is low impact and gentle on the joints, which may make it a better option for people with gout.

Low impact sports

Certain sports may be an easy and enjoyable way for people with gout to increase their physical activity levels. Some sports the Arthritis Foundation suggests include:

  • cross-country skiing
  • shuffleboard
  • golf
  • bocce ball

The following tips may make exercising with gout easier:

  • Consult a doctor: Before starting or modifying an exercise routine, it may be best for people to consult a healthcare professional familiar with their condition. They can provide specific recommendations and guidance tailored to the person’s individual needs.
  • Start gradually: The American Heart Association recommends gradually increasing exercise intensity and duration over time.
  • Warm up and cool down: Warming up before exercise and cooling down afterward can help a person’s heart rate change pace gradually and can count toward aerobic activity.
  • Stay hydrated: According to a 2017 article, dehydration can increase uric acid levels and trigger gout flares. It is important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated and promote uric acid excretion.
  • Wear supportive footwear: Gout typically affects the big toe but can also affect lesser toe joints, the ankles, and the knees. Proper footwear can provide cushioning and support for the feet, ankles, and knees during exercise.
  • Rest when needed: During flares, people with gout need to rest and allow time to recover. The American Council on Exercise recommends a complete recovery day without exercise every 7–10 days.

Low impact exercises, weight management, and proper hydration can help people manage gout. Regular exercise can boost mental and physical health and reduce the risk of gout flares.

People with gout can speak with a healthcare professional to develop an exercise plan that suits their needs, considering their gout severity, joint involvement, and overall health status.

Starting gradually, wearing appropriate footwear, and resting regularly, particularly during flares, may benefit a person with gout when increasing physical activity levels.

Physical activity and fitness resources

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